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ohio raising a lot of money, illinois, so these are senate races we are seeing republicans kind of put some distance but in themselves and their democratic host: with an independent, what happens to money raised from republicans question marks -- from republicans? guest: with arlen specter, there were calls his donors made to him as part of a conservative campaign organized by a prominent d.c. political group that reached out to reporters -- donors and said he, hey, you should request a refund from arlen specter. the trust is broken.
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arlen specter did volunteer, setting himself up for the situation. anyone who wants their money back, i will give it to them. he could start a campaign, and it was substantial. the amount he ended up the funding, there was no obligation to do that legal or otherwise, but you might face calls to return some of the money. so the money was a very, aggressive fundraiser, largely drawing on some of rubio's tea party appeal, he has managed to raise money from out of state to out-raised charlie crist, but if he runs as an independent that could create some news. it could be seen as a drop from
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rubio in the general election. host: i know you have written about the tea party. are they raising money? an organized effort? or are they giving money. guest: certainly they are giving. they have some semblance of structure, which is rare in the tea party, because this is a grass-roots movement that has not taken kindly to efforts to coopt, raised money, capitalize on things. there are groups that have emerged, with very substantial sums of moneywe wer -- money.
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scott brown's success, those were tea party folks. one group, out of sacremento, weighed in in the 2008 campaign on behalf of senator mccain and palin against barack obama, called "our country deserves better." then they tacked on "tea pty express." they run those bus tours you see. they raised $1.6 million in the first quarter, nothing to sniff at, and they are using it both to fund the pac and direct money to consultants, but also to independent campaigns including scott brown's, where
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they started at a big expenditure against bart stupak, seen as key to passing the overhaul of health care, and he subsequently retired. they took credit for the retirement. they are throwing around money in a way we don't normally see among tea party groups. host: we saw a new pew survey that only 1 in 5 americans trust their government. if that's the case, are individuals giving to campaigns? what type of person? guest: it is always a small
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universe of people who have the incumbent -- income and interest. some of these positions seem wilder than any recent election cycle. when you add it up across the board, where we see a shift in that is an uptick in interest because of anger but the administration or government, or the economy tanking, as we see now. it is counterintuitive to think that you will see more people giving to campaigns in economic struggle, but you have to activate your base and have something to light the fire under them. in this case, even as we see
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them showing signs of coming out of it, showing signs of life, as well as the fact that democrats control both chambers of commerce and the right lighthouse -- white house, that seems to bode well. nonetheless, is a small universe of people who are giving. that is the tea party with republican operatives in washington. they are mobilizing for campaigns and working on a different way to get them to do that. we saw that in the obama campaign where he got people to give some of money to his campaign. republicans would be lucky if they were able to take that
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energy that we see right now into a surge. host: $20,000 to any national party a year, $2,400 to any candidate. election, and $5,000 to any political action committee or party locally. >> do you think this will be funded back into the democratic campaign? guest: unions, as well as corporations, are going to have unprecedented flexibility. they were previously limited in
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terms of what they could communicate with and how to communicate. most of those art general funds. they had to use that. now, the supreme court decision allowed saddam to use that money to communicate door-to- door -- allowed them to use that money to communicate door-to- door. that could make a difference as they have more cash and money to go round. i'm not sure that was the case, they may have an uptick in dues, but i think ed is a little bit extrapolated.
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-- i think that is a little bit extrapolated. host: you can see the national rifle association, the national association of realtors. democratic line, go ahead. caller: i looked at the massachusetts race -- host: sorry, caller. i pushed the wrong button. call back. next caller. caller: i have a comment. i hate lies and i hate fraud. we have seen a lot of it.
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is it against the law for fox and their contributors to raise money for the republican party? guest: it's actually not. that's an interesting line of inquiry we have seen, pushed by mediamatters, a left-wing watchdog who have raised concerns about fundraising, pac's maintained by fox contributors like newt gingrich or sarah palin who have contracts with fox to provide commentary, but who are active still in politics, raising money. the most cynical of us might say to position themselves for their
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own races. there's really nothing in federal election or communications law that would prohibit this. also, a lot of people like to assert more airtime for one side than the other, but rules that would prohibit that, ostensibly, this equal time doctrine, only apply to broadcast television, not cable, the idea being the public owns the public airwaves that the networks borrow, and therefore they are prohibited from backing a particular candidate. we saw this with fred thompson's run in 2008.
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folks said he was on "law and order" so nbc should be prohibited from running reruns or live shows. there were concerns raised that nbnc should not air reruns of "law and order" because that would violate the equal time doctrine. they decided nonetheless to voluntarily not air them. other networks, cable networks that do have contracts or syndication agreements were not similarly obliged and laughed off some of these concerns, because they said the equal time doctrine did not apply to them.
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interesting backstory, there. host: kansas city, missouri. democratic line. good morning, karen. caller: one thing i have a problem with is i see tea partiers, as far as they want to target democrats, i think it should be fair to -- someone like senator mccain, why should we vote him in again? we should be fair, target everybody. if they're democrats and republicans on this, ever since they've been in office the last 8 years. that's who should be getting up out of there. i say, get rid of all of them.
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host: two headlines this morning i want to share. here's "usa today." frustrated voters cut ties, shift to unaffiliated may shape the midterms. more people are saying they are independent. "usa today." and the "wall street journal," bid to reclaim senate. they say that brown is on a roll, and polls favor republicans in many states. but jim demint is endorsing gop challengers across the country, supporting his conservative fund to push candidates in florida,
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california, and colorado. any idea of the fundraising efforts between these two? guest: there's no way it could compete overall in terms of fundraising or influencing races writ large. however, because demint is targeting taxgiving in which there is a more moderate candidate, sometimes a candidate backed by the main street, including senator cornin, using his funds to further challenge a more moderate candidate, including in florida. so we see demint's efforts or folks like him, ideologically
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simpatico with him, have an impact. the committee and john cornyn helped out the idea they were supporting charlie crist, the moderate governor of florida, against marco rubio. moreover, he had rhetorical support, urging his own backers to support marco rubio. that helped rubio to the point where cornyn is urging crist to get out of the race. so we do see a battle, and this is a good point we hear voiced from tea party activists and
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others, that the anti-incumbent tide and sentiment is not limited to democrats. it's also republicans. john mccain is despised by the tea party movement, and there are several candidates challenging his nomination in arizona, seeking to tap in to anti-incumbent energy. however, mccain has significant fundraising energy. host: susan, independ lin -- independent line. go ahead. caller: good morning. it says between 3 feet and 5 feet of rainfall where i live. i'm going through a
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remodification, trying to remodify my home loan and live in it. but to find out in these past elections from 2000, our votes were stolen, but big pharma -- anheuser-busch, i guess, also pays the way. but we have tabaroff, i.p. author for the ipa, but suddenly he is writing legislation? minorities, i.e. women, are trying to maintain their homes. host: susan, what is your point? caller: people are always trying to figure out a timeline. it was in 1995 that the states
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backed it. again, it is about pharma to blame. host: what is the latest on corporations? guest: it is unclear. democrats, and at least one republican, are scrambling to pass legislation that would dial back some of the predicted effects of this supreme court decision, so it is not clear as to whether they will pass anything in time to impact spending heading into the 2010 elections. perhaps they could get something implemented in time for the 2012 election. but there are a number of trade associations devising plans to take advantage of this new
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flexibility. i think we will see it most acutely, and increased spending will be from trade associations like the chamber of commerce, and vague and ambiguous names, the association for better choices, the american enterprise fund for new energy -- i just made those two up. and lastly, groups with specific policy interests who seek a newly-targeted way, with the ability to be more aggressive and supporting or opposing candidates who they believe want to follow them and their goals, or are supportive of them.
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it remains unclear. we're going to have to pay attention. thre's -- there's also a question of what will be required to be reported by the federal election commission. that's one thing advocates are seeking to address in pushing legislation, trying to close loopholes. i have to point out that advocates on either side of the issue say the decision is a victory for free speech and those who have rights impinged are trying to establish themselves. obama sees the spending as having a deleterious effect on
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the economy, drowning out the voices of voters and influencing elections in a way that could be misleading. and it is probably expected at this point to favor republicans, because corporations tend to have more to invest in the political process and have favored republicans. in this cycle, where you have congress pushing far-reaching initiatives, including a clampdown on wall street and the financial services industry, they have a target on their back, so corporations have more ammunition for their target.
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host: one republican fro delaware has become the only republican to sign a bill by obama and democrats protesting the supreme court decision. scores of seats within their grasp, repubilca -- republicans are turning up the heat on corporations and private entities to win the elections. caller: a comment and a question. i wonder if you had read an article in the "american thinker" that looked at the campaign of a man who ran for governor of california against schwarzenegger, and i learned there was an independent group
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called "californian's for a better government," that sieu were allowed to raise 23 million dollars for that candidate as long as their was no coordination between the union and campaign. there were meetings where officials were seen coordinating with the campaign, and nothing was done. so there is a loophole. host: ken vogel? guest: i.e. is independ exp -- independent expenditure, where you have political action committees of unions and interest groups being able to air ads of unlimited amount that
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mention candidates, and in some cases, in some states, these expenditures are even allowed to explicitly support or oppose candidates. at the state level, the campaigns themselves, the diea -- idea being if they are coordinated, it becomes a de facto contribution, and of course corporations and unions are federally prohibited from direct contribution. so if they could air a 23 million dollar expenditure, it would be coordination.
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so something that echoes the message without crossing the line into coordinating with the candidate. that's one area we see an appetite for increased regulation where advocates say, hey, one way to prohibit this new spending from having a significant impact is to toughen coordination rules so not only do candidates not talk with each other, they can't even use the same words or messages. so that would be problematic in that it would allow groups to
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say, "hey, this violates our freedom of speech. all wew an -- we want is to weigh in here." host: eric cantor is now endorsing rubio over crist. what is going on? guest: we are seeing a rising tide of support for rubio, and it will become increasingly untenable for crist. he may drop out and run nidependent, or drop out entirely. many groups had already thrown in with rubio over crist, but this is yet another indication
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that it is not just the tea party movement, and the real conservatives throwing in with rubio, it is everyone. you have the washington d.c. republican establishment deciding that rubio is their chance for success. and mitt romney met criticism. he recently also endorsed rubio over crist, and people said, "hey, you are late to the game here. the lines have been drawn." but the battle lines are drawn with even the establishment on rubio's side and fewer and fewer supporting crist. host: "crist considers bolting
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from the party and running as an independent. he trails rubio by double- digits, but polls suggest crist could win as an independent in a 3-way race." florida, go ahead. caller: greta, i watch you all the time. i have two statements. host: make it quick, mary. caller: yes, i will. regarding meeks, everyone keeps forgetting about meeks. one lady said yesterday that democrats need to vote for meeks. i'm going to be there. i'm going to vote for meeks. but see how republicans push everyone out, getting this
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rubio guy in there, the tea party. you're fooling yourself if you think rubio will win, but that's another story. guest: as far as meek goes, he's a fromi -- formidable candidate, a state trooper, an african american who can rally votes back there. and you have a race between meeks, rubio, and crist, it would seem to look good for meeks, because you would have crist and rubio duking it out
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for conservative votes. host: winston-salem, north carolina. larry, independent line. good morning. caller: one quick comment. a lot of people in this nation have forgotten we're a republic, not a two-party system or otherwise. this is the first time i've done this in my life, i hate what is happening to our nation. it's being torn asunder. i am sick of it. these people who go to "tea parties," they love the country, they are getting fed up with not who is in the white house, but fed up with the foulness and stench coming from all the
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money wasted on stupid things. to begin with, when i turned on my tv, you were talking about campaign finance money. host: ken vogel? guest: foreign money is prohibited. there were news stories about foreign contributions to obaa. the obama campaign went through it's rather extensive filings and flagged and returned every one of them. as recently of -- as last year, we were still seeing the obama campaign return donations. it's not unusual to refuse or return donations, including
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foreign nationals, a donor gave more than allowed, or it was from a corporate structure, also prohibited. an infusion of foreign nmoney could come from the campaign, the allowing for television ads supporting candidates. chuck schumer and chris van hollen are seeking to address in legislation closing some of these loopholes from the supreme court decision. host: 2012, you story, gingrich raises 2.7 million for a possible run in 2012.
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and democrats raise cash for 2012. guest: potentially, if some lawmakers want to run for president, they could transfer money to a nascent presidential campaign. on the flip-side, you have republicans gearing up for a run, raising money into political action committees.
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many times you see leadership pac's like romney's paying staffers who end up being staffers for presidential runs, and a lot of pac's, the main purpose of them, they do give money to other candidates, so that puts out chips they can collect if they decide to run in the future. gingrich's committee is different, a 527, not registered with the lection commcis -- election commission, so he can raise money, except for contributions. whereas mitt romney can give
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contributions to anything. in fact, he did get $52,000 to the current governor of minnesota, tim pawlenty. sarah palin, same thing, $400,000. mike huckabee, former governor of arkansaw, $273,000. how you have to raise your eyebrows at that and say that is something to watch going into the campaign. -- mick huckabee, former governor of arkansas, $273,000. these are things you have to watch going into 2012.
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there is concern about inc endiary rhetoric on both sides, and we've seen a concerted effort with leaders in the tea party movement in particular to clamp down, to self-police. i definitely see signs at these rallies that area -- are a little edgy. i saw one in searchlight, nevada, that said "exterminate the democrats in 2010." nonetheless, i do see far fewer of them, including this week in washington, d.c., i saw a rally, and a lot of the signs were more passe, but there was a sign of
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this inflammatory rhetoric, that it could hurt the movement. on the other side of the caller's point, term limits are kind of a nonstarter. campaign finance reform, the schumer van-hollen bill, that is one the white house has been supporting, calling out c ongress. so we do see political will for finance reform, which otherwise is a wonky issue. .
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sarah palin would seem to have more claim to having the energy behind her and perhaps some portion of the base.
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it is questionable as to how brought her support is, even in the base, let alone beyond the base, headed toward the general election. it also should be pointed out that she has a relatively skeleton political operation. she has been focusing much more on her burgeoning media career, selling her book, and she has a contract with fox news. she signed on to do with travel type show for another cable network. it is really early to handicap these things, as much as i love to do that. i would take a flier and pick a republican presidential nominee for 2012. host: for more information, go to politico.com.
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Today in Washington
CSPAN April 21, 2010 2:00am-6:00am EDT

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